Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, is leading a return congressional delegation to Fort Hood as part of a follow up investigation into the Army’s botched response to the disappearance and slaughter of SPC Vanessa Guillén, the deaths of PV2 Gregory Wedel Morales and SGT Elder Fernandes, and a longstanding, toxic command culture that failed to prevent and respond to sexual violence and prioritized crushing operational tempo over the wellbeing of servicemembers and military families.
Last year, nearly 30 servicemembers at the base died, including eight killed in accidents, six suicides, five homicides, and two related to illness. The cause of six other deaths was undetermined. Army Leadership admitted that Fort Hood has the worst rate of violent crime and incidents among all U.S. installations. The Fort Hood Independent Review Committee, which published its report in December 2020, found that the command climate at Fort Hood was permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault, that the Army Criminal Investigation Division detachment was underexperienced and under-resourced, and that sexual assault prevention and response programs were structurally flawed. Just last week, the Army’s command investigation into the events surrounding the murder of SPC Guillén was published, including the findings that the Army failed to appropriately guard the prime suspect before he escaped and killed himself, that SPC Guillén was sexually harassed by her platoon sergeant, that command knew about the allegation but failed to hold the harasser accountable, and that the soldier who murdered SPC Guillén had previously sexually harassed another soldier. As a result of these investigations and reviews, 20 soldiers have been relieved or suspended and other disciplinary actions are being taken against 11 additional soldiers.
In her return trip to Fort Hood, Chair Speier will be joined by five of her colleagues to talk with servicemembers at all levels, question base and Army leadership, and inspect SHARP program facilities, housing sites, and other areas of concern.
The members will hold a press availability on Thursday at 1 p.m. CT at the Fort Hood Visitor Center, 69004 Hood Rd, Fort Hood, TX, 76544.
Press planning to attend RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-TX), MILPERS Chair
Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN), MILPERS Ranking Member
Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA)
Congressman Marc Veasey (D-TX)
Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA)
Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (D-TX)
What: Congressional Delegation to Fort Hood Press Availability
When: Thursday, May 6, at 1 p.m. CT
Where: Fort Hood Visitor Center, 69004 Hood Rd, Fort Hood, TX, 76544.
Speier – Tracy Manzer / (202) 538-0641 or email@example.com
Garcia – Claudia Ortega Hogue / (281) 750-6936 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Banks – Buckley Carlson / (202) 904-0296 or email@example.com
Houlahan – Connor Lounsbury / (202) 760-0034 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Veasey – Emily Druckman / (202) 590-6054 or email@example.com
Jacobs – Will McDonald / (202) 845-4864 or firstname.lastname@example.org